Netanyahu visit to Cairo delayed until Wednesday

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Cairo, which was scheduled for Tuesday, has been pushed ahead one day, according to an Egyptian source.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, did not specify why the visit has been delayed, though Israeli radio has reported that the postponement came at the request of the Egyptian government.

Netanyahu had announced on Sunday that he would visit Cairo to discuss the possibility of restarting direct negotiations with the Palestinians.

The source also noted that Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Cairo on Wednesday night and meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak the following day.

Meanwhile, the Arab League has denied rumors that indirect negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians have been discontinued. The negotiations were launched on 9 May under the auspices of the United States. According to Hisham Youssef, chief of staff for Arab League General Secretary Amr Moussa, the peace talks were still on track.

Youssef told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Abbas will meet with US Middle East Special Envoy George Mitchell soon to offer his assessment of the current negotiations.

Youssef added that an Arab League commission responsible for the Arabic Peace Initiative will hold a meeting on 29 July with Abbas to review the league’s position towards the indirect negotiations currently in progress.

Moussa’s chief of staff explained that the commission’s assessment of the indirect negotiations will be presented at a gathering of Arab foreign ministers in September, marking the end of a four-month trial period the Arab League had previously set for the negotiations. The ministers will then adopt a collective position regarding the negotiations, he said.

Youssef stressed  the Arab League remains adamant that if negotiations do not produce the desired results, it intends to ask the United Nations Security Council to recognize the existence of a sovereign Palestinian state.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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